Do you ever go through the motions at work? Do you ever admit to yourself that you could be doing a better job, but you just don’t care?
We wouldn’t want anyone to accuse us of doing a poor job or making lackluster effort, so why are we okay with giving less than our best?
It could be because we don’t believe what we are doing matters. Perhaps it’s because you hate your job, or that you don’t think you’ll get recognized for doing it well. Maybe you just think your manager is a moron. Whatever the reason, we find ourselves going through the motions, doing what we can to get through the week and into the weekend.
I had a job in my mid-twenties that comes to mind. My manager was very condescending and made me feel like I wasn't capable of success. He treated my co-workers the same way. Needless to say, he wasn’t well-liked, and was the center of several jokes that circulated the workplace (yes, I took part in a most of them!).
After a while, I became frustrated and began to resent the guy. I grew tired of the criticism, and felt that no matter how hard I tried, he would find a way to make me feel stupid.
To make a bad situation worse, I was already self-conscious about having to prove myself in Corporate America, and my manager’s attitude toward me only amplified my insecurity.
So, I began to go through the motions.
I showed up for work every day, but I didn’t care about making the effort. I did just enough to get by. I started to look for ways to take shortcuts, or get out of doing things altogether. I viewed it as a way of getting back at my manager for making me feel incompetent.
I didn’t realize I was actually giving him more ammunition.
Because I chose not to give it my best, I created more opportunities for my manager to attack me. I was sabotaging my career and helping him build the case that I didn't have what it takes to be successful.
At some point, we must develop the conviction that everything we do requires our best effort. Colossians 3:23 (NIV) tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
This isn’t just another rule in the book. God is trying to help us because he understands the nature of human relationships better than anyone. Of course, you should want to do a good job for God and for your employer. But, that isn't always enough to convince us of this simple truth.
Being defiant and rebellious, which includes making lackluster effort, won’t get you very far. It only makes you look worse. On the other hand, doing your best will make it tough for any adversary to criticize the work you do. You’ll also become more valuable in the eyes of your employer, and that may translate into more money or a promotion. At the very least, they will not want you to leave!
Sometimes we end up in difficult situations, but if we continue to do the right things--having good attitudes and mindsets--we can be confident in everything we do.
Where have you settled for less-than-average effort in your life? What are some things you could do to make a change? Start small and work your way up!